Sam’s Chop House, Manchester

If you want to dine in a beautifully preserved piece of British Victorian architecture.  If you want to eat traditional English grub like fish ‘n’ chips, corned beef hash and steak and kidney pudding.  If you want to be served by professional, traditionally dressed, polite and informed waiting staff.  And if you want to do this with a cracking fine wine list to choose from, there is only one place to go.  Sam’s Chop House in Manchester.

Sam’s - fine wines and proper food….for some reason

Victorian Chop Houses were places where businessmen carved out deals whilst their hosts served grilled meats accompanied by flagons of ale and bottles of fine wine.  Sam’s Chop House is unique in maintaining this tradition.  Er well, except there is Mr Thomas’ Chop House just round the corner but this is owned by the same people.  And there is a new Sam’s Chop House in Leeds but this is a newly converted building and as Sam’s pointed out, only the second branch in over 130 years.  The original Sam’s has a history as a chop house dating back to 1872.

There is a lunchtime pecking order in the dining room at Sam’s as I discovered when doing some business with a Manchester bank.  The best tables are reserved for regulars, the cream of the cream being a discreet booth that seemed unattainable to a simple northern boy like me.  Steve (from the bank) and I competed for the right to book that table and failed miserably until one day we lunched together and the booth was available and we sat down smiling like Cheshire cats.  Actually it was a bit of a disappointment since it is so discreet that getting service is nigh on impossible.

Back to today’s visit and we sat with the good, but not the great on this occasion.  First task is to select something to drink.  Whilst the wine list is comprehensive and covers the world well (and I thought I saw some wines from out of this world), there are always bin-ends tempting the adventurous.  Being an experimentor by nature I was tempted by the Meursault Vielles Vignes 2000 Paul Garaudet.  Familiar aromas of paint stripper arose from the glass.  The sommelier agreed that the wine was spoiled and promptly brought another which was a gorgeous colour for only seven years old.  Butterscotch mousse with a hint of lemon – top notch.

The wine complemented well enough the main course of corn-fed chicken and tarragon with truffle oil and sherry vinegar, green beans mushroom and spinach.  A well constructed dish but one that is not typical of Sam’s by virtue of being a bit too fussy and modern.  On previous visits I have tried corned beef hash, steak and kidney pudding, fish & chips and mushy peas, pan-fried calves liver and mash and, of course, honey & mustard glazed pork chop.  All of which are afforded much care, attention and love.  You can imagine the chef thinking twice before letting his creations leave the kitchen only to be destroyed by the customers’ eating irons.

Some call it comfort food.  I just enjoy eating it, and finding wines from the enormous list that perfectly match the variety of dishes is one of the most intriguing and fun parts of eating at Sam’s, which is probably why I am a regular. But I can’t wax lyrical about a place without finding some fault.  The macchiato was awful – stick to simple filter coffee.

In summary, Victorian British inspired food, classy wines, traditional service, great dining room – I am in heaven when I am in Sam’s.

Sam’s Chop House, Chapel Walks, Manchester, M2 1HN. T: +44(0)161 834 3210 F: +44 (0)161 839 0042.

6 Responses to “Sam’s Chop House, Manchester”

  1. Douglas Says:

    Ornate. But why render the customers anonymous in the photos?

  2. Alastair Bathgate Says:

    Everyone is entitled to their privacy. I don’t like being photographed without permission.
    With the anti-smoking laws it’s nigh on impossible to photograph the outside of a resto without people stood about. As an ex-smoker (ceased to be, smoker no more), I still feel the ignominy of having to stand outside like naughty schoolchildren is embarassing. However, I do really appreciate the smoke free interiors and it’s so strange visiting countries that have not yet banned smoking. It’s like getting gassed sometimes.

    So I don’t pretend to have an answer for the smokers. But since they are paying my taxes for me, I do think they deserve not to be humiliated so I will continue to protect their IDs….

  3. Confessions of a Wino » Blog Archive » Mr Thomas’s Chop House, Manchester Says:

    […] my review of Sam’s Chop House raised a bit of a storm about people’s privacy, I was reticent about reviewing the sibling, Mr Thomas’s.  After waiting for about 243 […]

  4. Sara Says:

    My grandfather founded this chop house – he was called Samuel Studd. He died a rich – man in 1929. He started life selling newspapers on Fleet Street in London and gradually made enough money to open the now famous Sam’s Chop House in Manchester. He put his brother in it after a while and went on to greater things .

  5. john reade Says:

    Dear Sir,

    The orginal Sam’s Chophouse is the one on Cross Street?

    Why has it been relocated to Chapel Walks?

    John Reade.

  6. Alastair Bathgate Says:

    John, it’s on the junction of Back Pool Fold and Chapel Walks, which is 50 yards off Cross St.
    Mr Thomas’ Chop House is actually on Cross St. And there is a newer one on Albert Square now (the site of the former Square Albert). Oh, and there is one in Leeds but that is rubbish.

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